A capital of culture gearing up [Audio]

Cultural Olympiad Arts Council Photo: Alex Adey

Top cultural projects from across the East London Lines boroughs are among those driving forward the Cultural Olympiad.

Organisations from across London last week showcased their contributions to the summer of arts and showed how important the London 2012 Olympic Games will be to the capital’s culture, at an Arts Council event at the Museum of London.

Young Ambassadors

The Geffrye Museum in Hackney are opening their doors to Young Ambassadors in the borough and beyond. The Stories of the World has been running for three years and gives young people the opportunity to contribute ideas on how the museum is run and visit local schools to spread the word about exhibitions and the project.

East London Lines spoke to Vanessa Whybell, assistant education officer for the project, and Shaun who has been a Young Ambassador since the project started:


At Home With the World is now on at the Geffrye Museum. The exhibition explores living rooms from around the globe. It is free and runs until Sunday September 9.

Contemporary Anthropologists

Forest Hill’s Horniman Museum is also participating in the Stories of the World. The Body Adorned is an expansive photographic project, for which the curator trained a group of young people to become ‘contemporary anthropologists’.

Horniman’s Assistant Director Curatorial, Finbarr Whooley, told East London Lines that the exhibition asked the photographers working across London to find different ways in which the body is dressed and adorned.


The Body Adorned is free and runs at the Horniman Museum until January 2013.

Cultural Olympiad Bus Stops Photo: Alex Adey

LED Bus Shelters

If from the top deck of a bus you peer down upon a piece of LED artwork, you are looking at the brainchild of Alfie Dennen.

Bus-Tops are appearing on top of bus shelters across the capital and have locations across all East London Lines boroughs. It is one of twelve commissions forming Artists Taking the Lead, a programme funded by Arts Council England. The project is a collaboration between established artists and members of the public, who can also submit designs for the innovative exhibition spaces.

Dennen told East London Lines that he hopes as well as surprising bus users, the displays will generate Olympic fun with Bus-Top Pong:


Bus-Tops also works with the Arts Awards, which provides courses and activites for schools and young people that contribute towards nationally recognised arts qualifications, for example NVQs.

Dennen explained that through the scheme you can complete a Bust-Top Bronze award, he said: “11-24 year olds can spend a day’s workshop looking at how the screens work, how artists have used them, creating work for the screens, and then actually exhibiting them.”

International Collaboration

Heart ‘N’ Soul is coming out of the Albany Theatre in Deptford. The creative arts company focuses on learning disability culture and offers a range of opportunities for people to take part, train in a new skill or develop their artistic talents. For the Cultural Olympiad, they are presenting a 72 member strong international music collaboration called the Dean Rodney Singers.

The project is being curated by autistic artist Dean Rodney, after the idea came to him in a dream. All the songs are being created on iPad apps by band members across the world. The aim is to create a space where disabled and non-disabled artists and musicians can work on an audio-visual installation in time for the 2012 Paralympic Games.

Sandra Reynolds from Heart ‘N’ Soul told East London Lines how it will work:


Poetry Slam

The Albany Theatre is also hosting a poetry slam organised by one of the country’s foremost poetry organisations. Apples and Snakes are working on a nationwide project called Shake The Dust which will see poets and writers going to schools to collaborate with young people to produce poetry for the  slam. The London regional finals will be at the Albany Theatre on the 16 June and the Southbank Centre hosts the national final between July 5-8.

Miriam Nash, producer of the project, said that Shake The Dust will bring together poetry programmes from around the country to create something that can continue nationally after 2012. She also told East London Lines that the project is not just aiming to get more young people writing poetry.


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